In the five years since legalizing same-sex marriage, Massachusetts has gained $111 million in spending from gay weddings, according to a new study published by UCLA's Williams Institute, which studies sexual-orientation law and public policy. "That's money buying flowers, hotels, caterers, hiring a band—all the hings that go into a wedding," explains M. V. Lee Badgett, a coauthor of the study.
Typically, same-sex couples spent about $7,400 per wedding, says Badgett, an economist who is also director of UMass Amherst's Center for Public Policy & Administration, and one in 10 couples spent more than $20,000. And then there were the wedding guests: "We estimated that each same-sex couple was associated with $1,600 in hotel-occupancy tax revenue," she says.
Promises of a gay-wedding payoff are hardly new: back in 2004, a U.S. Congressional Budget Office analysis predicted that the federal government would benefit by nearly $1 billion in increased tax revenue each year if same-sex marriages were legalized in all 50 states and recognized by the federal government.
$7400 per same-sex wedding TIMES the number of same-sex couples wanting to be married but denied equal protection by last month's Supreme Court decision PLUS the estimated $80 million spent by both sides on the Prop 8 campaign PLUS whatever donations are already coming in toward the next campaign for-and-against marriage equality EQUALS:
- How much health care for children without medical insurance?
- How many school teachers in classrooms instead of the unemployment office?
- How many police officers on the streets protecting our families?
- How much funding for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs?
- How much infrastructure work to keep our roads safe and our bridges sound?